Saturday, November 26, 2022

Finishing Frenzy Interrupted by Turkey!

Well, apparently I cannot keep up a breakneck finishing pace for more than three weeks without pausing to enjoy some refreshment, LOL. This week’s guest star was Tom Turkey, with supporting cast of cornbread dressing, cranberry relish and pumpkin pie. YUM! But it was all carefully prepared and consumed within my weight loss plan, so it’s all good. The bonus - and truly the best part of the week - was seeing family again after several reclusive weeks. Let the Holiday Season begin!! 

While I didn’t get as much done in the studio as I’d hoped, it was still a pretty good week. Here we go.

My friend Ruby asked me to show her how to free motion quilt. After she watched me quilt a little quilt a couple weeks ago, she was ready to try on her own. So… she quilted this cute patchwork quilt that I assembled from 25-patch blocks sent to me by Catherine in New Jersey (no blog).  I showed all the blocks back in June HERE. You can read the backstory there, too. 


Isn’t it cute? Ruby practiced her stipple and did a great job. Then I bound and labeled it. It finished at 39x49”.  Here’s the pieced backing.


Catherine had sent more 25-patch blocks. The two brown ones are already pieced into a quilt top that I will show next week as a finished quilt. Sorry, I didn’t get any photos before hanging it up in the To-be-Quilted line.  There were several pink blocks as well, and they’ll be used in a quilt the next time we visit our pink scraps for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge (RSC).

Speaking of the RSC, my other finish for the week was my Crumb Tumblers quilt. Making crumb-pieced tumblers, alternated with solid-pieced tumblers, was one of my 2022 RSC projects. This month I added a brown row at the top and a gray-to-black row at the bottom to give it proper length.


Again, this was quilted in a stipple, which is my preferred pattern for string, crumbs and wherever there is a lot of small piecing. The finished size is 40x48”.


Both of the quilts are for Quilts for Kids. At this time, I’m totally out of QFK labels, so I’ll be making a trip over to my friend Sandy’s house (our chapter President) to deliver about a dozen finished quilts, five quilt kits and to pick up a couple dozen more labels. 

The next pic is the quilt top I put together of brown strings and scraps. It’s basted and next in line to be quilted.


And these are the remaining bullseye courthouse quilt blocks that were another RSC project for this year. This will be the 3rd and final quilt from these blocks. Right now, they’ve just been arranged on the design wall, waiting to be sewn into a top. 


That’s it for the quilting, but I do have one more share. This week was Cousin Kim’s birthday. As my gift to her, I bought her a cute blue bowl and filled it with chocolate and a gift card to Beans and Brews. Then I used a plastic plant saucer (the kind used under a planter to catch water) to make a lid. It was tied on with twine.


Next came the fun part. I went out to the yard and foraged any potential decorations, such as cypress, rose hips, holly, coneflower heads, berries, colorful leaves, dried hydrangea and even a dried rose. They were then hot glued to the plastic top to make a dried arrangement. No paper wrapping - yay! 


Best of all, she loved it!!




Have a great week. Linking to Scrappy Saturday/Rainbow Scrap Challenge and Oh Scrap! 

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Finishing Frenzy, Week 3

Another great week of finishing donation quilts for kids! It was a busy week with our family contractor Jeff having to fix some drain issues in the shower of the master bathroom. Thank goodness we caught it early and it was fixed with minimal hassle (and expense) over the course of a few days. The weather has been positively frigid here. Now if we’d only get some clouds and snow so it would warm up! 

OK, so let’s continue with the Fall Finishing Frenzy, week 3. This week I have four quilt finishes to share. The first is this red and blue checkerboard quilt that I finally got quilted. I showed the top about a month ago, but it was waiting patiently for its turn to be finished. I had/have so many projects in various stages of completion, that I decided to focus on nothing but finishing them for the rest of the year. 

The checkerboard quilt was quilted using a walking foot to quilt a grid in the light blue (denim-look chambray) squares. The finished quilt is 48x56, a good-sized quilt for an older boy. 

Next up was the delightful Rainbow Elephants quilt. Oh my, I love this little quilt!


Rainbow Elephants measures 40x47”. Thanks again for the elephant print, Nann!

Then it came time to quilt the two quilts using black scraps and bright fabrics (backing on the first and the cat fabric on the second) from my friend Wanda. 


This quilt doesn’t have an official name, but I refer to it as “the carpenter check” because of the three squares of a bright tool print interspersed . The 28 black string blocks really helped whittle down my stash of black strings! I oriented the string blocks differently in each row to give the quilt a bit more movement. 

Quilted in a basic stipple, it measures 42x48”. 

Next up: Black and Bright Cats, 40x49”.


I used blue thread to quilt the top and bottom strips, and black thread to quilt the rest. The backing photo shows the cute Tula Pink cats eyes fabric (which my friend Sally says is now commanding exorbitant prices) used to supplement the cat fabric. 


Here’s a closeup of some of the quilting. 

This week I also started dabbling in using up some of my brown scraps. First, I found a scrap print that had brown and a couple other colors (guitars and banjos), and cut 21 squares of 6.5”. Then I made 21 brown string blocks (by now you should know I loves me my string blocks!). Together these 42 blocks will form the center of a quilt I’m working on for next week. There will be an aqua stop border surrounding them, and a still-to-be-determined outer border. I figured the guitar print and masculine colors warranted a somewhat larger quilt size for an older boy. Here’s a peek:

The fabrics on the right will be the backing - either the browns together OR the blue denim-look. Fun fact: that lovely medium brown print is 36” wide. Yeah, it’s old, but it’s pristine! It was in one of the estate sale boxes that my friend Ruby found for me this summer!

Finally,  I sewed three “chocolate” crumb candy blocks which will finish at 6”.

The making of crumb candy blocks will be one of my 2023 Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects. Today I’m linking up to the RSC’s Scrappy Saturday

Have a great week!



Saturday, November 12, 2022

Finishing Frenzy, Week 2

It was a great week in the sewing studio and at Chez Kizerian in general. Bruce passed his CERT training (Citizens Emergency Response Training) through the Murray Fire Department and his ham radio club. YAY! Yep, even being one-armed he can tote training dummies, etc. This week I lost the last of my Covid weight gain (finally), and am now on track to begin losing the “older” poundage, LOL. The weather here has been crisp and cold, with occasional rain and even snow. Beautiful! Just like the old days. Maybe we’ll have a normal, snowy winter!

So, let’s talk quilting. Over the course of the last week or ten days I sewed up 28 black string blocks (that will finish at 6” each) as I try to whittle down my dark neutral scraps along with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. Down the center of each block is a strip of black-and-bright fabric. These 28 blocks joined 28 other blocks of bright solids and a “carpenter” print that had the same colors. This is the resulting quilt top:

I am so totally in love with this top! But the best part is the backing fabric, which was the inspiration for the whole color scheme and pattern. It was in the batch of fabric and scraps that sweet Wanda sent me a couple months ago. A match made heaven, I say. 


This cutie will be basted and quilted in the next week. Also serving as inspiration from Wanda was these bright cat strips below. At least I think they were from Wanda. I received so many scraps from several directions in October that I’m not entirely sure. But I’m thinking this looks like so many other cute animal scrap fabrics that Wanda has bestowed on me for Quilts for Kids, so I’m going with her!  

These width-of-fabric strips are just pinned on the design wall for now. In this month’s continuing effort to pare down some of my black scraps, I made two rows of vertical black strips with an occasional black-and-bright strip thrown in. The backing will be more of the cat fabric and some Tula Pink cat-eye fabric from her old Tabby Road line. I’ll show that next week. This top, like the first one, is slated to be finished up in the coming week. Then I have one more quilt planned for the black scraps for later this month. 

I did finish off the quilting of three other little quilts this week, which puts my Finishing Frenzy tally at 6. These first two were sent to me as tops by Jo Kramer (Jo’s Country Junction) to quilt, finish and be donated to a charity of my choice. As you know by now, Quilts for Kids is my choice.

The first one is a Dr. Seuss-themed quilt. I quilted it with loops. It measures 40x50”.


The backing was this cat fabric, which I felt was necessary since The Cat in the Hat was not represented on the front, hehe.....


The second quilt was this bright daisy-themed number, which measures 41x56”. Bruce likes this one best because..... RED. It’s his favorite color.  


I practiced some different free-motion quilting motifs with this quilt. Yes, I did do stipples in the red and blue strips, but the daisies were outlined with scribble-style quilting (my term; I don’t know what it’s really called. Do you?) and the borders were done in a wishbone pattern.


I find the kids quilts to be a good opportunity to practice new things on now and then because no one really cares if it’s only “meh”. 


My third and final finish for the week was this little basic patchwork quilt. I cut it out in Blue September, but never worked on it until this week. The lavender blocks stand out more in the photos than in real life, but other than that you can see it’s just a sweet mash-up of miscellaneous 4” blocks.


I used my machine’s walking foot to quilt a basic grid pattern. The backing is an older piece I’ve had laying around for awhile.  This soft little quilt finished at 40x48”. 


That’s it for this week. I’m hoping to concentrate more on finishing 5-6 quilts next week as I’ve got two basted and ready to go (an elephant quilt and the blue and red checkerboard), and four more tops that will be ready for basting by the end of today. 

Saturday, November 5, 2022

Let the Finishing Frenzy Begin!!

For the month of November, I’m focused on finishing up quilts in my studio. I have such a backlog of quilts that are either pin basted and waiting to be quilted and bound; assembled tops waiting to be pin basted; groups of finished blocks that are waiting to be sewn into a top; and groups of blocks that need just one or two more blocks sewn to move them along. As my time and attention span permit, I’ll be flitting about the various piles and tasks, with a goal of finishing up at least 12 quilts this month. That equates to about three per week, totally doable. Some of these quilts will be Rainbow Scrap Challenge quilts, either personal or going to Quilts for Kids. Some are Community Quilts that were sent to me by Jo Kramer (Jo’s Country Junction in IA. She runs this national program to move along quilt tops into finished quilts for charity), and some are just quilts sewn by me for our own gift-giving.

Here is my first finish. I sewed these donated scraps (triangles) and strips together into a top last month. The solid green and purple were from my stash. The edges look wavy here, but it’s really a flat and even quilt. I just didn’t take the time to straighten it before the photo. My bad.

It’s a wacky quilt that measures 38.5 x 46”. The quilting is a mixture of serpentine stitching, loops in the print outer borders and a stipple done in the nine center blocks. I used the last of my favorite green fabric for the backing.  

Next I began quilting up - and completed - two of the four Community Quilt tops from Jo. I’ll do the other two next week. The first one is farm animals alternating with a pastel checked fabric. This little quilt measures 38x38” and was quilted with loops.



The third and final finish for this week was the same checkerboard pattern (also finishing at 38x38”) with bright yellow fabric and colorful jellybean-like alternating squares. This time I quilted the print squares with loops (I knew it wouldn’t show up) and the yellow squares with some free-form floral motifs.

Here’s a close-up that shows it off a bit better. 

And then it was on to assembling one of several elephant quilts that are waiting patiently in the queue. Gotta love those elephants! My friend Nann sent me this awesome elephant print fabric. There was enough to use as the outer border and the entire quilt backing. Thanks, Nann!! This top is now ready to be basted and quilted next week.

And finally, I had some 4.5” pastel blue blocks (60 of them) from Blue September in the RSC that I had paired with other pastel (-ish) miscellaneous 4.5” blocks that had been in my stash for far too long. The colors are way darker in the photo than in real life, but it’s the best I (read: the camera) can do. I had intended to sew this top together in September, but then sciatica struck and it was set aside. Anyway, they’re all sewn together now, and this will be the fourth quilt that I intend to finish off in the next week. Stay tuned!

I’ve also determined that my crumb tumbler RSC project needs two more rows: a brown row before the dark red and a gray row at the bottom below the purple. The solid-fabric tumblers are cut, so I’ll take some time (hopefully) this week to sew up the necessary scrappy tumblers to finish this top off. 



Yesterday I sorted my drawerful of black (and black/white, black/bright) scraps into crumbs, chunks, strips of 2.5” or wider, and strings of less than 2.5”. I will be sewing black string blocks this week. I plan to pair them with solid (or tone-on-tone) bright colors for a hopefully lively kid quilt. I don’t have a particular setting in mind yet - we’ll see how many string blocks I get out of the black first. The wider strips can wait another week or two. I’m hoping to get at least two quilts with the black scraps done, although there are probably enough to do four or five. 

A group of my WW (formerly Weight Watchers) friends came over last Tuesday evening to play the card game Hand and Foot. It was organized by several of us who have grown into great friends, and several  others were invited. Even our leader Kris joined us, and she lives up by Park City! There were seven of us all together, and we had a blast. The snacks were all fruits and veggie trays, with some little WW snack bars (2 points) for anyone wanting a hit of chocolate. Several of the ladies are also quilters, so that was fun to have them playing along in the studio. I had moved two of my  four sewing tables aside. We played our games on two of the other tables and it was perfect!  Fun fact: Kris grew up in this neighborhood, and her boyfriend was Kurt S, whose family lived in this house (for 40 years) before us. So, she knew the neighborhood and the house, although we’ve remodeled or changed every room as well as the exterior of the house in our 20 years here! It’s a small world! 

Have a great week. Are you in a finishing frenzy before the hectic holidays arrive?







Saturday, October 29, 2022

Just Another Month End

It’s been a week of cool, rainy weather. Nothing of note happened this week around here. It was just the stuff of everyday life - errands, sewing, housework, phone calls and visits to and from family and friends. One highlight (for me) was that I finalized the details with a new housekeeper who has been cleaning for other extended family members for decades. She will start with us on Monday, and return every other week. That’s perfect timing because on Tuesday night, several of my friends from our Tuesday morning Weight Watchers workshop are coming over for a game night here. It should be a blast, and I may get some pictures if they’re willing.

But you’re probably here for Scrappy Saturday, so let’s talk about what I got done to wrap up Green October. First off, elephants! These four blocks (pattern by Wendy Sheppard) will finish the blocks needed for another elephant quilt. 


So these blocks will be added to these piles, 


which represent other quilt tops in various stages of assembly. In total, there will be three more elephant quilts, a pink and blue patchwork quilt that I never finished last month, and a Community Quilt that needs a backing to be pieced. Once assembled, the tops will be pin basted and added to my stack of 7+ tops to be quilted. All of that will hopefully happen during November, which is shaping up to be my Finishing Frenzy! I’m hoping to turn out at least a dozen finished quilts in November.

But I did finish one quilt this week, so here’s that one. It’s the Little Green Bricks (block pattern from Sylvia at Treadlestitches)


Little Green Bricks finished at 42x48” and will go to Quilts for Kids. The back was mostly this green tree print (I’m refusing to call it a Christmas print, because evergreens exist in all seasons!):


I also sewed up some fun wrapped candy blocks, which will finish at 8”. This is a new Rainbow Scrap Challenge block that I’ll carry over into RSC23:


The centers are 4.5” crumb squares with flip corners, and that will not be enough size to help whittle down the crumb piles, so I’ll probably begin doing 6.5” crumb squares in addition to the candy blocks beginning in January. But for this year, I did use some crumbs to finish off one green placemat.


In November, I’m also going to try to finish up the last miscellaneous mixed-color elephant blocks in order to put together the final two elephant quilt tops before year end. And I hope to tackle my black, brown and gray scrap drawers - the black one won’t even close anymore. I’ve been saving ideas, and look forward to sorting those scraps and putting together some quilt tops. So much to do and never enough time!

I’m in a bit of a hurry this morning - can you tell? - to get going to our last Quilts for Kids scrap workshop of the year. I think I’ll just be taking along my solid scraps and Accuquilt 2” square die and cutter to cut squares for future Zipper quilt kits. Today I’m turning in three finished quilts, 180 multi-colored string blocks for kits, 45 green string blocks for kits, and one completed Zipper Quilt Kit. And I’m going to resist all the sweets they always bring so that I don’t backtrack on my good recent weight loss (which I may or may not discuss at a later date, LOL). But for now, time to pack up the car! Have a great week. 

Saturday, October 22, 2022

October Nights

I love October! It’s been a glorious week weather-wise with warm sunny days, clear blue skies and cool, crisp evenings. Today is cooler with a 90% chance of rain this afternoon (YAY!) and snow likely in the mountains. We are ready! The garden is all put to bed and we *could* consider all our yardwork done. We still do have to cover up the patio furnitures and Bruce will close down the sprinkler system and disconnect hoses. If we do get another nice half day in the next week, we’ll do some final clean-up behind the sheds and spread some mulch. 

I honestly can’t remember how this week sped by so quickly. We did make a trip to Costco, got our Covid boosters and flu shots, and as mentioned we worked in the yard. I had a lot of laundry this week and some fall cleaning. And I’ve been working to hire a permanent bi-weekly housekeeper. Can I get a hallelujah?!? Sandwiched in here and there between all that I got some sewing in. 

This week in the studio I focused on getting some light and bright green blocks sewn to round out a lot of my 2022 Rainbow Scrap Challenge block sets. 

Four Framed Four-patches that will finish at 8” …


The bright green patch in the block in the bottom left really bothers me, but I’m not going to change it. When these blocks are mixed in with all their colored friends, it won’t be so noticeable. 

Next I sewed together last week’s Little Bricks blocks (pattern courtesy of Sylvia at Treadlestitches). Here is the 42x48” flimsy (quilt top):


But then I realized I should sew a few more of these blocks in greens to add into a multi-colored version that I’ll continue working on for RSC23. Eight more Little Bricks Blocks. I loooove sewing them! I’ve got some chunks of green fabrics that I’ll fashion into a suitable backing next week. 


The mess of scraps in green, brown and purple have been officially sewn into a top that measures 38.5x46”.  I don’t know why it looks bowed in this picture. It is square. But I do have trouble reaching up so high to get it on the board. I think I’m shrinking! 


Next came the string blocks. I had to set aside my multi-colored string bin to work on the greens instead. I’ll pick up the multis again next week, but will probably only sew 2-3 sets of 15. That means I will not make my goal of 300 multi-colored string blocks by the end of the month, but oh well. Any that I do sew will be appreciated by Quilts for Kids and will help reduce the string pile! So, here are my green string blocks instead, 3 groups of 15 (6” finished).


Finally, the last blocks sewn were these 4” bowtie blocks. They’ll join the other colors and I’ll continue making these next year until I come up with a plan. 


That’s what I have to show for the past week. I’m linking up to Angela’s blog for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge’s Scrappy Saturday

Next week I’ll get back to sewing *some* multi-colored strings. I also have about 6 green elephant blocks to sew, plus the final Bear Paw blocks, crumb tumblers and a placemat to assemble. But my primary goal is to pin baste between 6-8 little quilts in preparation for a “Finishing Frenzy” in November (or sooner if I can get to it).  But first, exercise!!!

Have a great week!